Russian interpreting at the notary's office in Germany. The most important facts

Russian interpreting at the notary's office in Germany. The most important facts

Russian interpreters are deployed in a wide variety of official appointments – be that court summonses, medical appointments and marriage registrations at the registry office or notarial certifications. Below you will learn what to consider when planning your notary appointment in Germany for which a Russian interpreter has been enlisted.

When shopping or using public transport, we conclude dozens of legal transactions every day without the need to record them in writing. In some cases, however, there are special formal requirements for concluding legal transactions. This applies in particular to the conclusion of real estate purchase contracts, the creations of wills and testaments and the issue of other declarations. These matters require the services of a notary. If one of the parties to the transaction is not sufficiently proficient in the German language, the notary in Germany is obliged to call in an interpreter. As sworn Russian interpreters in Germany who are regularly called upon by notaries in Nuremberg, Fürth, Erlangen and the surrounding area, we would like to summarise for you what to bear in mind for your notary appointment when you want to enlist a sworn Russian interpreter.

The nuts and bolts of hiring a sworn Russian interpreter for a notary appointment - Specific recommendations from AP Fachübersetzungen in Nuremberg

As sworn Russian interpreters specialising in law are usually booked up weeks in advance, we recommend you start looking for a suitable Russian interpreter as soon as you have made an appointment at the notary's office.

In your non-binding enquiry, it is best to provide the Russian interpreter with the following information:

  • Date and time of the notarial certification as well as possible alternative dates;
  • Address of the notary;
  • Length of the drawn up contract or contract draft;
  • Expected duration of the appointment.

In most cases, German notary interpreters are paid per hour according to the JVEG. JVEG stands for the Judicial Remuneration and Compensation Act (Justizvergütungs- und Entschädigungsgesetz), according to which 85 euros plus VAT are to be paid per hour of interpreting as well as travel time to and from the venue plus kilometre allowance (currently: 0.42 euros per kilometre travelled) and parking tickets. Depending on the location of the venue, the travel time to and from the venue is either remunerated with a fixed fee or billed by the hour. If the Russian-German interpreter does not use a car, the cost of local transport tickets will also be included in their quote.

The duration of the appointment depends directly on the length of the document to be notarised, which must be read out in full and translated into Russian during the appointment. The notary usually suggests the expected duration. Yet notarial authentications are unfortunately often seen as a formality by notaries themselves and concluded at an incredibly fast pace. This is going so far that even native German speakers present admit that even they could not understand what the notary was saying because of the unprecedented speed. Therefore, the document read out by the notary is always presented in written form to all parties involved.

It is understandable however, that complex legal content is not always fully or immediately processed and understood when listening. Therefore, upon request, a written certified translation of the document, i.e. a contract translation can also be prepared by a document translator sworn by the court. In this way, the contract can be read before it is notarised and understanding can be improved. This allows the party that is insufficiently proficient in German to prepare more specifically for their notarial certification appointment for which they enlisted the services of a German-Russian interpreter.

Since notarial certifications involve important matters and confer legal validity to the legal transaction, it is best to allow for some time for questions you might have and explanations by the notary as well as for the required Russian interpretation, since transactions concluded by a notary are often more difficult to rescind. 

What you should not forget before your notary appointment regarding your German-Russian interpreter

In the run-up to the appointment, we recommend you keep the following aspects in mind in order to be best prepared for the notary appointment:

  • All parties, including the German-Russian interpreter, are listed in the contracts to be notarised. Therefore, your notary may want to know the name, date of birth and address of your German-Russian interpreter well in advance of the notarisation.
  • For the notary appointment, the Russian interpreter in question should bring their identity card and – in the event that they are sworn in by a court – the certificate of appointment in order to be able to identify themselves and prove their qualifications. Our article "Language barrier at the notary - is a sworn interpreter required?" tells you more about who is allowed to act as an interpreter at the German notary's office.
  • Competent sworn Russian interpreters in Germany usually prepare for every notary appointment, even if they have been interpreting professionally for many years. For this purpose, they need the latest draft of the documents to be notarised in order to familiarise themselves with the text and possibly look up new technical terms. In addition to the purchase contract, the creation of a land charge is often notarised when real estate is purchased. The notary usually receives this document from the financial institution issuing the loan, and its content and wording can vary greatly depending on the bank. To ensure that the appointment runs as smoothly as possible and to avoid imponderables, ask your German notary to provide all documents to be interpreted in advance.

Impartiality and secrecy on the part of notaries and sworn Russian interpreters

It is the duty of every notary to take no sides when dealing with their clients and to draw up the contract in the interests of all parties involved. Sworn interpreters, just like notaries, take an oath at the respective court (see also court interpreting) to transmit faithfully and conscientiously as a neutral party. Language and cultural barriers and knowledge of the legal system at home can often lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Linguistic mediation by professional Russian interpreters ensures that the Russian-speaking party suffers no disadvantages due to language barriers and can fully exercise their rights.

In the course of our many years of working as German, English and Russian interpreters in the legal field, clients have told us that, due to poor language skills or professional inadequacy on the part of the hired interpreters, wills and testaments did not correspond to their actual will or they were not adequately instructed about the consequences of a contract. Don't let it get that far and hire a professional sworn Russian interpreter so that you are on the safe side!

This has also another advantage: A sworn Russian interpreter in Germany is bound to secrecy by the oath taken. Overheard conversations, contents of the contract and personal information cannot be disclosed to third parties by sworn Russian interpreters. With interpreters who have not taken an oath, you lack this security measure.


Image: Karolina Grabowska,